Avatar Review

Mil Norman-Risch


I have dreamed
of a mouthful of loosened, crumbled teeth,
gravestones scattered in one heedless shudder of the earth,
blocks and bricks heaved into rubble piles
on cobblestones
and bones and bones dry-heaped.

Faith: I thought I knew
the inside of my mouth (I my tongue),
the rubber gums,
the rounded markers in the even rows.
Teeth solid, planted there forever,
I believed.

At Bergen Belsen
I saw human teeth, collected in bags, like stones.

Now with my mouth
I want to grind up hope in molars
then uproot,
spit out or swallow
one by one
each perfect tooth
and make my anguished peace
with all the plundered mouths
that will not gnash or speak.

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